Sunday, January 7, 2024

How I Fell in Love with the Bible

I like to ask my students, "Do you remember that time in your life when you absolutely, positively fell in love with the Bible, I mean to the point where you literally could not put it down?" I'll never, ever forget when that happened to me. The Bible I'm referring to is the Good News for Modern Man translation. At that time you could only get the New Testament. 

The year was 1968. I had just turned 16. (Yes, once upon a time I had dark hair.) 

Being a figure artist myself, I was drawn to the illustrations of Swiss artist Annie Vallotton. Imagine being commissioned to illustrate the entire New Testament! The images sneak up on you when you least expect them. I've never gotten over those magnificent doodles. 

Stick figure theology. 

Suddenly, something could match my passion for surfing. Some days, the Bible even surpassed it. It was the "new" I had been waiting for. 

This is the mission we are all called to as believers. It is the nobel task of the church. It is a slow process, often maddening. Growing in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ requires the patience of Job and the wisdom of Paul. Temptations to get sidetracked will abound -- count on it. The King and his kingdom will reign supreme. The only question is: Do I know what that kingdom looks like? 

Today I am participating in the blessings of the Bible more than I ever have in my entire life. My daily time in the word has become the most fun, fulfilling venture of my Christian experience. Nothing is better than Jesus. And meeting him daily in his word is truly better than life. 

The publication of the Good News Bible interrupted my entire life. Not in the form of spending time on a church campus listening to others. Transformation came in the form of a paperback that made the Bible fresh and relevant, even to a 60s Jesus Freak. It pulled me back into the canonical text, pulling off a volumetric change that I am still undergoing to this day. 

Because of that singular event in my 16th year, I have never been the same.